Planning on getting married?

26 May, 2016 | Family Law

Planning on getting married? According to Dutch law you automatically get married in community of property unless you’ve made a prenuptial agreement. If you’re unaware of this, you and your future spouse could be confronted with major problems. If one of you has a debt, for example, both of you will be liable. Also, if one of you owns a company, it would have to be divided along with your other joint assets in the case of a divorce. One of you might have to buy the other out, which sometimes leads to bankruptcy.

The Netherlands, Suriname and South Africa are the only countries in the world where marriage in community of property still is the default. Unfortunately, not everyone who is planning on getting married in one of these countries is sufficiently informed about the problems that this may cause further down the line. Most new couples prefer not to consider the possibility that their marriage might end. After all, prenuptial agreements aren’t very romantic. In fact, in the Netherlands, 75% of marriages have no prenuptial agreement and are therefore legally in community of property!

Recently proposed legislation might bring changes to this situation in the near future. A law stating that a limited community of property should be the standard for future marriages is being considered by Dutch lawmakers. The Lower House of the Dutch parliament (Tweede Kamer) approved this legislative proposal on April 19th 2016. A preliminary investigation will take place on June 14th 2016. After this investigation the Upper House (Eerste Kamer) will either accept or reject the proposal.

What’s our advice: If you’re planning on getting married before this legislation goes into effect, please consider having a prenuptial agreement drawn up.